January 23, 2007

The subsidariat

The British press is far livelier than the US press. If I had to pick one title to live with, it would be The Guardian, altho and because I loath its politics. It is well designed and sometimes surprises. It's columns are often so grotesque (Polly Toynbee take a bow), that I get a freak-show frisson. My wife would choose The Daily Mail, a middle-brow, gossipy, somewhat palaeo-con, anti-Bush, anti-Blair tabloid. It has some of the best columnists like Richard Littlejohn, Melanie Phillips and Peter Hitchens. The Mail is the one politicians curtsy to. It used to be The Sun. The Mail has flourished under the editorship of Paul Dacre, a rather private man whom I knew slightly at school. He is the most influential editor in Britain, tho I suspect his animus against the Iraq war is driven by an animus against Blair which is driven by an animus against Cherie Blair which has a root cause we know not where. Here the BBC reports Dacre's thunderbolts.

An extract from elsewhere:
Dacre also accused the "subsidariat", a group in which he also placed the Times, Guardian and Independent, of being "consumed by the kind of political correctness that is patronisingly contemptuous of what it describes as ordinary people.
These papers take bribes from the state in the form of ads for the marauding army of social engineers which infests the UK, hence "subsidariat".

For an excruciatingly funny first-hand account of Grub Street in recent times, I recommend The Insider by Piers Morgan, editor of the Mirror, fired for publishing faked photos of British soldiers torturing Iraqis. His caddish, intimate witness to Murdoch, Diana and the Blairs will define them down the ages.

The sound of one shoe dropping


I'm running a short position in Apple stock and wrote here "The optics of the story are awful - backdated options grants, fictitious board meetings, Apple apparently lying outright to say that Jobs derived no value from the operation - but the market wants Jobs to get away with it (so do I in my heart) because he's so admirable...."

The market's discounting of Jobs's vulnerability was founded on an Apple board report exonerating Jobs, but if there's a smell test for whitewash, that report wouldn't pass it, tho the whitewash was applied by the Inventor of the Internet himself who may now be in line to be prosecuted. Anyone who bought Apple stock after the Gore report was published, may have a powerful case.

Since I placed my short last week the stock has dropped 10%, but after last night's close it emerges that the feds have questioned Jobs. Now the market may shrug this off, fairly reasoning that this Justice Department, which wouldn't prosecute Sandy Berger, lacks the balls to apply the law to Steve Jobs or Al Gore. But, you know what, greed is fully priced in Apple's stock and fear is a bouncing baby. Steve may look fetching announcing new products in an orange jumpsuit. Al Gore would look more fetching.

Why I love Steve Jobs
(14 minutes).

UPDATE: Another day, another dollar (down).
Tomorrow's Times (London) runs an Apple story, US investigators condemn Apple's options inquiry. Extract - "An SEC source said: “To have a representative from the Department of Justice — a criminal prosecutor — attend an interview with a company CEO is a very serious matter. This is not a polite request for information. The way the interview was conducted and the way the investigation seems to be moving forward [suggest] that Apple has a lot more explaining to do before the authorities will even begin to be satisfied.”"

The Times (New York) website runs an Apple story about designs for mythical Apple products. Also a story in the Tech section about how HDTV is showing up too much detail in porn movies. Now why would the omitters of truth at the NYT be playing down what may be the biggest business story of the year ?